Building on his prior collaborations with Merce Cunningham and other modern and postmodern artists, dance for camera pioneer Charles Atlas works for the first time with ballet dancers, including Christian Allen, Paolina Gonzales, Sara Mearns, and Taylor Stanley. He creates a new experimental film and installation in collaboration with choreographer Jodi Melnick.
This project is supported through the Cage Cunningham Fellowship, established in 2015 for artists who demonstrate John Cage and Merce Cunningham’s commitment to artistic innovation. In recognition of Cunningham's centennial celebration in 2019, the 2018—19 Cage Cunningham Fellowship extends the award to five artists including Charles Atlas.
Lead support of dance programming at BAC is provided by the Rudolf Nureyev Endowment.
Major support for dance programming and activities provided by the Mertz Gilmore Foundation, Harkness Foundation for Dance, the New York State Council on the Arts, and Dance/NYC’s New York City Dance Rehearsal Space Subsidy Program, made possible by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Charles Atlas has been a pioneering figure in the creation of time-based visual art for over four decades, extending the limits of his media and forging new territory in a far-reaching range of genres, stylistic approaches, and techniques.
He has made media/dance works, multi-channel video installations, feature-length documentaries, video art works for television, and live electronic performances. He has worked with such artists and performers as Leigh Bowery, Michael Clark, Douglas Dunn, Marina Abramovic, Yvonne Rainer, Anohni, Mika Tajima, and most notably Merce Cunningham, for whom he served as filmmaker-in-residence for a decade from the early 1970s through 1983. His most recent solo exhibitions include the past is here, the futures are coming (2018, The Kitchen, NYC), Scary, Scary, Community Fun, Death (2018, Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich), and Illusion of Democracy (2017, MoMA, NYC). Recent large-scale video installations have been MC9 (2018, Los Angeles County Museum of Art), The Tyranny of Conciousness (2017) at The Venice Biennale, Cowboy Body (2016, The Contemporary, Austin), and The Waning of Justice (2015, Luhring Augustine, NYC). In 2017, following a residency at EMPAC, Atlas debuted Tesseract, a two-act work in collaboration with Rashaun Mitchell + Silas Riener comprised of a 3D film and a live dance performance with video, which has since been shown domestically and internationally. Other significant live performance work includes The Kitchen Follies (2018), a multi-screen, multimedia variety show at The Kitchen that included the work of Jodi Melnick, DANCENOISE, Lady Bunny, among others. Atlas has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, three New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Awards, the Foundation for Contemporary Artʼs Biennial John Cage Award (2006), and a 2016 United States Artists Gracie Fellowship.
Jodi Melnick, NYC-based choreographer, dancer, and teacher, designs intricate movement to explore the exquisite nature and dynamic relationships between human beings. Her work has been presented both nationally and internationally.
Melnick’s critically acclaimed New Bodies, created on New York City Ballet principal dancers Sara Mearns, Jared Angle, and Gretchen Smith, originated at Jacobs Pillow and went on to perform at the Guggenheim Museum in NYC and the Spoleto Festival in South Carolina. Her work has been presented at BAM Fisher Theater as part of the Next Wave Festival, City Center’s Fall for Dance, The Joyce Theater, New York Live Arts, The Kitchen, La Mama, Jacob’s Pillow, American Dance Festival, Martha’s Vineyard, Vail International Dance Festival. She commissioned a solo for Damian Woetzel and Yo Yo Ma that was presented throughout Japan, The Dublin Dance Festival, St. Petersburg and Moscow, Russia, and throughout Estonia. In 2012, Melnick had the esteemed privilege of collaborating with Trisha Brown, and performing the solo One of Sixty-five Thousand Gestures. Melnick has worked with Twyla Tharp (1990-1994, 2009), Sara Rudner, David Neuman, Yoshiko Chuma, John Jasperse, Vicky Shick, Beth Gill, Rashaun Mitchell, Jon Kinzel, Paul Kaiser, Liz Roche, Charles Atlas, David Michalek, Yvonne Rainer, and Sibyl Kempson, and has performed with Mikhail Baryshnikov (2005-2008). Melnick was honored with a Doris Duke Impact Award (2014), a Guggenheim Fellowship (2012), a Jerome Robbins New Essential Works Grant (2010-2011), a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grant (2011), two NY Dance and Performance “Bessie” Awards for sustained achievement in dance (2001 and 2008), a Gibney DIP Residency Grant, an Extended Life grant awarded from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Center, and a 2019 Center for Ballet Arts Residency Fellowship.
Paula Court, Lori E. Seid, Christopher Duggan